My name is Julie Kent and I’m sharing a brave and brilliant memoir in the hope that it changes and may even save lives, but firstly because it’s a fabulous introduction allow me to share the first paragraph of a inspirational and funny book by Clare Pooley called The Sober Diaries.

Something had to change

“On a scale of one to ten, today is languishing at around minus five. It’s a Sunday, so I have a hangover, obviously. But this is the Sunday after my birthday party, so today’s hangover is a particularly special one. A humdinger. A prize-winner.

My brain seems to have shrunk to the size of a marble, and it’s banging off the sides of my head like a game of pinball. I’m sweating alcohol and drowning in successive waves of nausea. I keep clutching at the worktop in my kitchen like a desperate sailor clinging on to a life-raft. This is not a good idea, because I keep catching sight of my grey, puffy face selected in the polished granite. Yikes.”

The reason alcohol is so harmful is partly because it is extremely addictive. We have convinced ourselves that only a small, unfortunate group of people who are born with the disease alcoholism will ever get addicted to booze.

Yet the Nutt Report concluded that alcohol was more addictive than any drug apart from heroine, cocaine, nicotine and barbiturates. It also listed alcohol as the most harmful and deadly drug of all (when you take in the combined impact on the individual and society) 10% of the drinkers in the UK are estimated to be addicted to alcohol.

How would you describe your drinking?

  1. It’s Healthy? Don’t drink very much? Only drink when you go out?
  2. Started to drink at home? More over the lockdown? 
  3. Always enjoyed a drink? Always drank at social occasions? Quite often last at the party?
  4. Felt rough in the morning? Dehydrated in the night? Sweating and needing lots of water?
  5. Always say I’m not going to drink in the week? but do? After being ill on drink…say I’m never going to drink again?
  6. Do you drink alone?

“I quite often looked up AA on a Sunday morning when I felt rough! But then looked at all my friends who also liked drinking…at parties, weddings, meals, any night of the week for a get together and on holiday from lunchtime till the early hours constantly! And think well they drink a lot and they are fine!…but are they fine?”

Julie Kent MBE
Julie Kent MBE when she was a heavy drinker before going sober.

I definitely peaked. I was at a school speech day and had started drinking champagne early as we always did, then had more at lunchtime and then more with the parents in the afternoon and then I found myself in a marquee drinking with some parents and one of the mums was very drunk. Slurring, mascara a little messy, her children embarrassed by her and she kept insisting on having more, even opening another bottle when we didn’t need it…

Afterwards I thought…is that what I looked like?

We always laugh at people that get drunk at parties, dance when they don’t normally, almost fall over when they are normally pretty straight laced..laugh as they slur and when we see them next we bring it up as a great story full of fun and laughter….but is it really funny? Are we glad to see someone behave like that because it makes us feel better when we do the same. Say something to someone we wouldn’t normally say and the following morning really regret it?

The thing is…drinking is legal and sociably acceptable… but it is a drug and is very addictive… a poison…. And it is a depressive….on many levels…what it does to your brain, body, skin and general well-being.

Heavy drinkers are constantly experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they are not drinking, and these exacerbate the feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. You should pay close attention to any increase in anxiety often about little things.

Everyone is different so you could begin to feel relaxed after 2 glasses of wine whereas for some it might be 4 glasses of wine. Some people can drink a whole bottle and not feel much of an effect until they are on their second bottle in which case it will take till the end of bottle 3 until they might start to slur…..

I am an all or nothing person so cutting down wasn’t an option for me. I always said I would go out for one but it never happened

I often said I wouldn’t drink that day and then found a glass in my hand at 6 p.m.

I knew I had to give up….what did I do?

Went to Waterstones and bought a book the book was Jason Vince Ditch the drink easily.

It describes alcohol as a drug constantly and that was a great trigger for me to want to not have it…I am very anti-drugs…I often told the kids…

You open a bottle of wine and you know you are drinking wine

You buy a tablet or something wrapped in foil, powder…you don’t know what it really is….that is a big risk a huge danger

The type of alcohol in the alcoholic drinks we drink is a chemical called ethanol

There’s a part in my speech where I talk about this journey to a sober and happy life… and it is strange as this is the part that so many females want to know about… how did you stop?

How did you keep friends? and keep having fun and stop? (So many questions I get asked)

Here’s My Top Tips for stopping …don’t cut down…STOP

  1. Buy The Book – Jason Vince Ditch the drink easily.
  2. Get rid of the booze in your house that you like. Don’t allow yourself to be tempted.
  3. I started knitting….it wasn’t for anything…it was a long scarf with any wool I could find…it just kept my hands busy…you could do embroidery, cross stitch, anything to keep your hands busy!
  4. Go for a walk….don’t pass a pub! Get your friend or partner to go with you…..
  5. Get into tea or coffee big time…find a flavour you love! And have it readily available 
  6. Exercise, in a class or on Youtube…Zumba, yoga, a Nintendo WII you can even play tennis! But the endorphins will kick in and make you feel energised….
  7. Bake!…it never worked for me but it will keep your mind occupied with timings and washing up and detail!
  8. Soak in the bath and read health magazines!
  9. Tell everyone that you have given up!….your best drinking buddies will be funny with you…mainly because it will them think about their own drinking…they will wonder if you are judging them and look at themselves. They will want you to start again because they will tell you that you will be boring!….YOU WILL NOT BE BORING but you might be healthier, achieve more, especially at night and you will feel great in the morning!
  10. Go to the cinema, theatre, shops at night where you can window shop! Just to get out!

Remember how you felt when your children got into trouble at school or parties with a bunch of friends who all, put vodka in a water bottle and drank it at the school disco bringing shame on you!

All pitched in for a packet of cigarettes and then got caught smoking in their uniforms?

Or worse got drunk before a party and then slept with a boy because they were too drunk to know what they were doing…

At the time you are disappointed that your child succumbed to peer pressure, followed the crowd even though you had taught them right from wrong…you are disappointed…

But then when you tell your friend you aren’t going out on a Tuesday night after work because you are not drinking in the week and she gathers another friend and they both say, oh just come for one, we wont stay long, its been a long day, then someone else arrives later and you all have another with them …and then you need a lift because you are over the limit to drive and one of them is getting a lift so you have another while waiting for the lift…

In the morning you need to start early but your car is not on the drive…you are mad with yourself for being sucked into going for ‘one’ …peer pressure in your 30’s 40’s and 50’s….

Don’t cut down….STOP

Life is so much better without drinking

You can reach out and speak to Julie on her Instagram by clicking here :

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Or contact her agent Sian at [email protected]